Posts Tagged ‘definition’

The problem with workplace bullying is not its definitions, let’s take it more seriously

Sunday, January 26th, 2014

Just recently the CDC established conditions for a universal definition of youth bullying in schools. Newcomers to the adult Workplace Bullying movement clamor for a uniform, common definition. But back in 1997, when we were beginning, there was a very active listserv among the international academic community striving to find commonalities. They finally agreed to not force a common definition.

Workplace bullying, as a documented research phenomenon, is not new. It is quite “mature,” contrary to what newbies may believe. For example, here are the properties that all operational definitions share:

• the loathsome conduct is negative or offensive to a rational person
• it is aimed at one or more individuals, personalizing the assaults
• perpetrators act either alone or in concert with others (mob)
• perpetrators attack from any and all levels in organizations — top-down, horizontal (peers), and from subordinate positions
• when perpetrators outrank their targets, it is an abuse of authority
• regardless of perpetrator rank, there exists a power differential, real (titular) or perceived (in the mind of the perpetrator)
• acts of omission (withholding) are included with acts of commission
• deliberateness and intentionality are less important than the fact the mistreatment happened
• tactics may be overt or covert, most likely subtle and behind closed doors
• though there is a singling out of certain targets, bullying transcends status-based (illegal) discrimination, ignoring gender, race, age, etc.
• repetitive, a chronic pattern, not single-shot emotional explosions
• unwanted, uninvited, unprovoked by targets
• harmful to targets — health (from distress), psychological integrity, self-esteem
• harmful, or at least disruptive, to witnesses and coworkers
• bullying toxifies a productive work environment, undermines work itself
• employers bear the responsibility to prevent and correct

Thus, there is a great deal of conformity across various definitions. There are huge public education goals facing the movement in 2014.


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Posted in Commentary by G. Namie, Fairness & Social Justice Denied, Tutorials About Bullying, WBI Education | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment () »

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